Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 3, 2015

16 questions to Ask Yourself – First Pass Editing

yanovelK. L. Going is an award winning author and a prior agenting background at Curtis Brown. Besides the many fictional books she’s written, she wrote a book a few years back that you may already have on your bookshelf. If you do, you might want to open it up, again.

I have it on my book shelf and looked through it again and thought I would share some of her thoughts with you on editing your work from pages 148 and 149. There is so much more to read and benefit from inside this book.

After you have let your first draft sit, here are a few things to note along the way when you pick it up again.

1. Do you still like the story?

2. Do you have any trouble suspending disbelief?

3. Are you turning pages to find out what happens or is the text too wordy?

4. Could the tension be taken up a notch?

5. Do events happen organically?

6. Are their passages that are written lovely, but are too flowery and draw attention away from the story?

7. Does the dialog sound fake.

8. Are there long passages of uninterrupted text that might be changed into dialog?

9. Are you still routing for or despising the correct people?

10. Have any of your secondary characters taken over the book?

11. How is the ending? Does the story seem to stop to abruptly? Does it fall off a cliff. Does it drag? Should it end a few pages earlier?

12. What about the beginning? Do you have a good opening line? Do you start with action right away or does it take a few pages to get going?

13. Does information get passed along through the narrator telling the reader or through the narrator seeing it for themselves in active scenes?

14. If you are writing humor, do you laugh in the right places? If you’re writing horror, do you jump in the right places? If you are writing fantasy or sci-fi, are the rules of your world consistent?

15. Does you setting seem vivid, like a snapshot? Does it evoke the intended emotion?

16. What can you strengthen to take the book from good to great?

Small Changes can have big effects. Don’t be fooled into thinking that every solution must be drastic. Large issues can sometimes hinge on single sentences.

Click Here to Look Inside.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Reblogged this on AUTHOR JENNIFER LOISKE and commented:
    Very good advices!


  2. Editing is vital – without it your readers can be disillusioned with your work and never read your narratives again. I am fortunate to have a supportive writing group to assist in my editing process.


  3. Great checklist!

    My secondary characters are *always* trying to get more stage time, lol.

    Miss you Kathy, xo!


    • Mimi,

      That’s funny. I miss you, too.



      • Think that means we need to get together! Xo!


  4. Reblogged this on Mandy Eve Barnett's Official Blog and commented:
    Superb list to print and keep beside you when editing. Can you add any more tips.
    Thanks for a great list!


  5. Reblogged today ! Great list…


  6. These questions presumably apply to all fiction, do they? Not just YA?


    • Catherine,

      They do apply to all fiction. I should have pointed that out. Thanks for stopping by.



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